Template:Ethnic group Slovenians or Slovenes (Slovenian Slovenci, singular Slovenec, feminine Slovenka) are a South Slavic people primarily associated with Slovenia and the Slovenian language.

Most Slovenians today live within the borders of the independent Slovenia (circa 2,000,000). There are autochthonous Slovenian minorities in northeastern parts of Italy (100,000), southern Austria (15,000), Croatia (13,200) and Hungary (6,000). The states of Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia officially recognize Slovenians as national minorities.

Many Slovenian emigrants are also scattered across Europe and overseas, for example in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Australia, South Africa (300,000).


Early Slovenians

Around 570, the Slavic tribes started to settle in the region between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea.

From 623 to 658, the Slavic tribes between the upper Elbe River and the Karavanke mountain range were united in their first state under the leadership of king Samo (kralj Samo) in a so called King Samo's Empire. The tribal union collapsed after Samo's death, but a smaller Slavic state Caranthania (Slovenian Karantanija) (present-day Carinthia) persisted, with its center in the region of Carinthia (most of it lies in the present Austria).

Slovenians during the Frankish Empire

Due to pressing danger of Avar tribes from the east, Karantanians accepted union with Bavarians in 745 and later recognized Frankish rule and accepted Christianity in the 8th century. The last Slavic state formation in the region, the principality of Prince Kocelj, lost its independence in 874. Slovenian ethnic territory subsequently shrunk due to pressing of Germans from the west and the arrival of Hungarians in the Pannonian plain, and stabilized in the present form in the 15th century.

The earliest documents written in a Slovenian dialect are the Freising manuscripts (Brižinski spomeniki, Freisinger Denkmäler), dated between 972 and 1022, found in 1803 in Freising, Germany. The first book printed in Slovenian is Cattechismus and Abecedarium, written by the Protestant reformer Primož Trubar in 1550 and printed in Tbingen, Germany. Jurij Dalmatin translated the Bible into Slovenian in 1584. In the half of the 16th century the Slovenian came known to other European languages with the multilingual dictionary, compiled by Hieronymus Megisar.

Slovenians between the 18th century and the Second World War

Slovenian lands were part of the Illyrian provinces, the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary (in Cisleithania).

Many Slovenians emigrated to the USA at the turn of the 20th century, mostly due to economic reasons. Those that settled in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania came to be called Windish.

Following the 1st World War (1914-1918), they joined other South Slavs in the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, followed by Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, and finally Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In the new system of banovinas (since 1929), Slovenians formed a majority in the "Dravska Banovina".

In 1920 people in the bilingual regions of Carinthia decided in a referendum that most of Carinthia should accede to Austria. Between the two world wars the westernmost areas inhabited by Slovenians were occupied by Italy.

Slovenian volunteers also participated in the Spanish Civil War, and the Second Italo-Abyssinian War.

Slovenians during and after the 2nd World War

Slovenians participated in the so-called National Liberation Fight ("NOB") while Yugoslavia was occupied by Axis powers during the Second World War (1941-1945).

  • The commander of the High command of the Slovenian partisan's army Franc Rozman Stane
  • The Pohorje battalion
  • The Battle of Osankarica
  • The National heroes

There were Slovenians also in the German army.

In 1945, Yugoslavia liberated itself and shortly thereafter became a nominally federal Communist state, with Slovenia a socialist republic.

The Austrian part of Carinthia remained part of Austria and estimated 25,000-40.000 Slovenians in the Austrian state of Carinthia were recognized as a minority and have enjoyed special rights following the Austrian State Treaty (Staatsvertrag) dated from 1955. The Slovenians in the Austrian state of Styria are not recognized as a minority and do not enjoy special rights, although the State Treaty of July 27, 1955 states otherwise.

Many of the rights required by the 1955 State Treaty are still to be fully implemented. There is also an undercurrent of thinking amongst parts of the population that the Slovenian involvement in the partisan war against the Nazi occupation force was a bad thing, and indeed "Tito partisan" is a not an infrequent insult hurled against members of the minority. The current Governor of the Province, Jrg Haider, regularly plays the Slovenian card when his popularity starts to flag, and indeed relies on the strong anti-Slovenian attitudes in many parts of the province for his power base. Another interesting phenomenon is for some German speakers to refuse to accept the minority as Slovenians at all, referring to them as so called Windische (a claim which linguists reject on the basis that the dialect spoken is by all standards a variant of the Slovenian language).

Yugoslavia acquired some territory from Italy after WWII but some 100,000 Slovenians remained behind the Italian border, notably around Trieste and Gorizia.

In 1991, Slovenia became an independent nation state after a brief ten day war.

See also

External links


The origin of Slovenians ka:სლოვენები nl:Slovenen pl:Słoweńcy sl:Slovenci


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